Australian Council on Children and the Media

Nightmare Before Christmas 3D

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Horror. Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Nightmare Before Christmas 3D
  • a review of Nightmare Before Christmas 3D completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 October 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 The movieu2019s horror-like cartoon images are made even scarier in 3D, and could cause younger children, particularly preschoolers, to be fearful of receiving Christmas gifts.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended, particularly at the younger end of this age bracket
Children over the age of 13 Should be ok to see this movie with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Nightmare Before Christmas 3D
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 76 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Jack Skellington (voiced by Chris Sarandon with the singing voice of Danny Elfman) is the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, a strange place full of monsters, witches, ghosts, ghouls and vampires. When Jack becomes disillusioned with his purpose in life and leaves Halloweentown, he stumbles into a snow covered Christmastown. Jack is overwhelmed with the spirit of Christmas and decides that this is his new purpose in life.

Unfortunately when Jack returns to Halloweentown, he has misunderstood some elements of what he has seen, and believes that ‘Sandy Claws’ is an evil dictator. He arranges for Santa to be abducted by Lock, Shock and Barrel, three trick- or- treater type children. Jack plans that he will replace him, and Halloweentown starts making its own style of Christmas toys. Sally (Catherine O’Hara), a rag doll who is in love with Jack, but is kept locked in her bedroom by her mad scientist creator, Dr. Finkelstein (William Hickey) is opposed to the idea of Jack taking over Christmas. When Santa is kidnapped and handed over to Oogie Boogie (Ken Page), the malevolent head of Halloweentown’s underworld, she tries to free him, but she too is captured.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Identity crisis, Halloween

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Dr. Finkelstein, a wheelchair bound mad scientist, grabs Sally by the arm and drags her away against her will. He imprisons her in her bedroom.
  • a man falls down a flight of stars
  • a vampire pulls out his eye
  • Sally uses a deadly poison (nightshade) to poison Dr. Finkelstein
  • Jack cuts open the stomach of a teddy bear and stuffing falls out like entrails
  • Sally jumps from the top of a tower and lands on the ground. A number of her limbs break off.
  • Lock, Shock and Barrel sing a song about boiling Santa in a pot, cooking him rare, shooting Santa with a canon, blowing him to pieces, tying him up in a bag and throwing him into the ocean, burying him for ninety years, beating him with a stick and chopping him into bits
  • Lock, Shock and Barrel throw objects at Halloweentown’s Mayor
  • Lock, Shock and Barrel have a push-and-shove fight ending with the three rolling around on the ground
  • a toy guillotine chops off a doll’s head, meant to be a Halloweentown Christmas present
  • a Halloweentown character smashes a scorpion with a hammer and then places it in a box to become a present
  • Lock, Shock and Barrel kidnap Santa and put him in a large sack. They then prod him with spears as they stuff him down a drainpipe.
  • Robot-like one-arm bandits with guns shoot at Jack, Sally and Santa.
  • Christmas presents scare and attack children as they open them
  • anti-aircraft guns and missiles shoot down Jack and his sleigh.
  • Santa is imprisoned in a dungeon with manacles.
  • Oogie Boogie sends giant playing cards with chopping knives and saw blades to attack Jack
  • Oogie Boogie tries to tip Santa and Sally into a giant mixing bowl full of molten liquid.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, Nightmare Before Christmas contains hundreds of horror-like cartoon characters, the residents of Halloweentown, some of which could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Jack occasionally takes on a frightening appearance with scary eyes, gaping mouth and large pointy teeth
  • a boy with a head growing out of his stomach
  • a man with a melting face and head
  • Oogie Boogie has glowing eyes and sharp teeth. He hides under a bed
  • several macabre Christmas presents, including a shrunken head
  • vampire monsters with sharp teeth
  • monsters that look like devils
  • werewolves with sharp teeth
  • spider-like creatures with bat wings
  • one-eyed monsters
  • Dr Finkelstein appears threatening and intimidating
  • Dr Finkelstein lifts the top of his head off revealing his brain. on one occasion massaging it, on the other removing part of it and placing it in a new creation
  • Oogie Boogie appears as a burlap sack with a snake for a tongue. When it is cut open, the sack is full of worms, bugs and creepy crawlies.
  • a cartoon character is shown with an axe embedded in his head
  • skeletons hang from trees with nooses around their necks.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group could also be scared or disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Many children between the ages of eight and thirteen years should be capable of viewing the horror-like images in this movie. However, some of the images may still be problematic for some children closer to the age of eight years depending on the child’s level of exposure to horror-like images such as those presented in this film.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that this film would scare or disturb children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

None

Nudity and sexual activity

There is one scene in which Sally places her naked leg around a corner in an alluring somewhat striptease like manner. When Oogie Boogie approaches Sally he finds that it is only her leg which she has unstitched to use as a diversion.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Sally drugs Dr. Finkelstein’s food on several occasions with the poisonous plant Nightshade. Finkelstein falls unconscious. 
  • Sally appears to sprinkle something in a bottle that resembles a wine bottle, she then places it in a picnic basket which she anonymously gives to Jack.

Coarse language

Some use of ‘By God’ and ‘My God’ in the lyrics of a song.

In a nutshell

Nightmare Before Christmas 3D is a remake of Tim Burton’s original 1994 stop-motion animation film with 3D effects. While the movie targets children, it is too scary for younger children and better suited to older children, adolescents and adults many of whom may find it highly entertaining.

The main message is about finding your identity and being happy with who you are. Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include selflessness and trying to put things right when we make mistakes.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children what would really happen if they kidnapped someone, gave the sort of gifts given in the movie, poisoned someone’s food or threw themselves from a great height.

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